The Karate Dogi or Gi is the outfit worn for karate training. It consists of a jacket (uwagi) and trousers (zubon) made of white cotton or canvas and a belt (obi), the colour of which indicates the rank of the student. The Ashihara school allows one to have badges (crests) on the left side of the chest and on the left sleeve.
How to Wear the Dogi
The belt worn indicates the rank of the karateka according to the standard ranking system adopted in Ashihara Karate. The ten lower ranks (mudansha) of Kyu or non-black belt holders are divided into the following colours: white, blue, yellow, green and brown. The upper ten ranks (yudansha) of Dan have the holders wearing the black belt.
How to tie the Obi
After a while a student’s gi may become worn from regular training and washing. Parts of the gi may also become discoloured from vigourous workouts. The belt (obi) will also become ragged from being tied and untied, and from being tugged on.
How to fold the Dogi
Although one washes ones gi, the belt is never washed. Every class that you take, every drop of sweat, every little tear or abrasion is part of what goes into each student’s unique experience. It is something to be remembered, but not clung to. Therefore no experience is washed away. The belt must tell its own story. Belts may be marked with the holder’s name and the name of the Ashihara school on the ends of the belt.